Aug. 5—NEW ALBANY — New Albany resident Joe Hagedorn, 65, started a program last year with the goal of preventing a diabetes diagnosis.

He fit the criteria of pre-diabetes, and he saw a need to focus on habits such as eating healthier.

Over the past year, he has successfully made a number of changes to his routines, and he learned about “taking care of yourself now so you’re not diabetic later.”

“I think transformation is possible for anyone who makes the commitment,” he said. “I took care of this I think before I started getting other physical ailments.”

Hagedorn was one of 17 people who completed the yearlong Diabetes Prevention Program presented by Mathes Pharmacy in New Albany, which was part of a national program through the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions.

The participants were recognized Tuesday evening at a graduation ceremony at Prosser Career Education Center.

Mathes Pharmacy was one of 15 pharmacies throughout the country to receive a grant for the CDC’s PreventT2 Program, which is aimed at preventing Type 2 diabetes.

The program serves those diagnosed with pre-diabetes or with risk factors for diabetes such as weight, age, family history and high blood pressure. Lifestyle coaches helped these individuals complete lifestyle changes such as weight loss, healthy eating and exercise routines.

Madeline Moses, director of clinical services at Mathes Pharmacy, said the program started with 19 people, and only two people did not finish. She served as a lifestyle coach for the program.

None of the participants has been diagnosed with diabetes, Moses said.

“I’m just so proud of them and happy for them,” she said. “

The participants reached goals such as 5-7% body weight loss and 150 minutes of exercise a week. Altogether, about 250 pounds were lost in the group.

The people who graduated Tuesday evening from the program started in August 2020. The classes included regular group sessions, one-on-one coaching and Zoom sessions.

Hagedorn said his diet has completely changed since starting the program. He is more focused on eating in moderation, including limiting the amount of sweets he consumes.

“I’ve always thought that I ate healthy, but I’m very cognizant now of what it takes to eat healthy or to eat healthier.”

He has also improved his exercise routines, he said. He lost about 60 pounds and only gained back about five to 10 pounds.

Hagedorn said losing the weight wasn’t the true goal — it was all about his overall health. He thinks of the lifestyle changes as “paying it forward” on his health.

“It’s taking care of me so I can take care of people around me,” Hagedorn said.

Susan Walker, one of the graduates of the Mathes Pharmacy program, said she understood it was “time to take control” when a blood sugar test showed she was borderline diabetic.

“For me, it was a preventative measure,” she said. “I learned a lot from the program and improved on many of my activities.”

Walker, 72, has learned how to incorporate short intervals of exercising throughout the day, and she been more conscientious of how much she eats.

The program reminded her to be true to her commitment of maintaining healthy habits.

“There were times when I thought about throwing in the towel,” she said. “It was one thing to record what we ate daily and when we ate it, but when it came down to breaking down into calories and counting calories, that got a little much. But I’m glad I stuck with the program.”

Moses said Mathes Pharmacy has been invested in the community since it started in 1931 and the mission is provide preventive care and “to be a place of wellness, not just a place for sick care.”

“It’s been really neat to do something before the problem is there,” she said. “A lot of times we’re a reactionary society instead of proactive, so it’s been really neat to see people succeed with that.”

Michelle Henderson works in the medical supplies department at Mathes Pharmacy and served as a lifestyle coach with the diabetes prevention program.

“I’m very, very proud that this group of folks did not get diagnosed with diabetes this year,” she said. “They may have if they had not found our program, so that’s really, really important.”

Curriculum and assignments for the classes included daily food logs to help them track what they were consuming and guide them to eat healthier foods, Henderson said.

If participants couldn’t get outside for exercise, they were able to learn about exercises they could complete at home, she said.

Joe Dones, owner of Mathes Pharmacy, said the program is an opportunity to treat people while they are well and create lifestyle changes.

“Hopefully it will motivate them to make changes and never get to the point where they have those serious complications,” he said. “I’m very proud of them and think they’ve done a great job.”

Dones said he is impressed with how many people committed to the program for a whole year.

“I applaud them for staying with it,” he said. “That’s long enough to where they have developed good habits and it’s promoted a lifestyle change.”

Mathes Pharmacy will soon present another yearlong diabetes prevention course. An information session will be presented 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the pharmacy.

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